Tulsa County Sheriff's Office recognizes local heroes for actions during courthouse shooting

TULSA - It's been three months since Tulsa's highly publicized courthouse shooting. Thursday, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office honored 16 men and women for their roles.

A packed courtroom relived March 7 at 2:39 p.m

Undersheriff Tim Albin read the timeline of events. Albin said, "Deputy David Allen Fortenberry, Deputy Stephen Culley, and Corporal Dennis Miller responded. The suspect stood-up, fired one round, striking Deputy Fortenberry in both hands."

Both Deputy Culley and Corporal Miller returned fire, seriously injuring the gunman, Andrew Joseph Dennehey.

Miller said, "when you're in a stressful situation you always fall back to your training. That's exactly what we did that day."

Thursday, they received high honors for their bravery that day. Dep. Fortenberry was given the Purple Heart.  Cpl. Miller and Dep. Culley were given the Medal of Valor. "If it means putting our lives on the line, we'll do it again," said Miller.

Dep. David Fortenberry's mom says he's not the same person. "He grew up in my eyes that day," Deanna Fortenberry said. She said he's much more serious and just now able to interact with his son again.

Deanna said, "If it had not hit his hands, it would have hit him in the face. That thought haunted me for weeks."

The three officers have undergone counseling. Cpl. Miller said, "my wife is my staunch supporter and my best friend. She's been there for me every step of the way."

Dep. Culley said, "it does cause you stop and think for a few minutes about how short life could be and how important it is to live everyday."

Dep. Fortenberry said, "these guys, they don't know how much I appreciate them being out there that day."

Cpl. Miller and Dep. Culley are back at work. Dep. Fortenberry doesn't know when he'll return. He goes to physical therapy three days a week.

Before the ceremony even began, tears filled the room. There was a surprise visit for Deputy Judy Pounds. Pounds was one of the 16 honored.

Her daughter is in the Air National Guard and has been at basic training in San Antonio for five months. She graduated yesterday and asked her commanders for an early leave to celebrate her mom.

Print this article Back to Top